If you are in possession of a firearm and do not first obtain an FOID card (Firearm Owner Identification Card), and you are caught with it on your person, in your car, or even in some circumstances in your own home or place of business, you may be charged with Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6 (“AUUW”). If you are facing AUUW charges in Cook County or DuPage County because you were arrested for having a firearm and not having an FOID card, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you and protect your rights.
Illinois requires that all residents who want to own a firearm first obtain an FOID. You can fill the application for an FOID out online, or you can print it out and mail it, fax it, or scan it. If you have an FOID card, you may transport a gun in your vehicle, as long as it is unloaded and in a case or other container. If you are carrying a firearm that is loaded or not in a case, or is in the glove compartment of your car, and you get pulled over, you will be charged with unlawful use of a weapon.
What if you are Charged with AUUW?
It is far more serious, however, if you are caught with a weapon in your vehicle and you do not have an FOID card. Even if you are an out of state person who has come to Illinois to hunt, you may be charged with AUUW if you are pulled over and have an unloaded firearm in your car. The name of the offense is misleading, as you do not have to actually “use” the weapon to be charged with the crime – if you do not have an FOID card and you have a loaded or unloaded weapon in your car or on your person, you can be charged with this crime. This is a Class 4 Felony under Illinois law, and you need top level legal representation if you are charged.
If you are convicted of AUUW for possession of a firearm without an FOID card, it is punishable by a minimum of one year in prison and up to (but not more than) three years, if it is a first offense. There is also the possibility of a $25,000 fine. If it is not your first offense and you are charged with AUUW, you could be facing seven years in prison.
How Can We Help?
David Freidberg can help you if you are charged with AUUW. There are many ways to defend against AUUW claims, beginning with the circumstances of your arrest and the constitutionality of the search and seizure of your firearm. Mr. Freidberg can help you, either by getting you a not guilty verdict, by having the charges dropped or lowered at the very beginning of your case, or negotiating you a favorable plea bargain. Mr. Freidberg will zealously defend you and do his best to protect your record so that this charge does not haunt you for the rest of your life. If you are arrested for AUUW because you were carrying a weapon without an FOID card, and you are in DuPage County or the greater Chicago area, contact David L. Freidberg now at 312-560-7100 for a free, confidential consultation to see how we can help you.